Edo State Governor, Oserheimen Osunbor
An air of uncertainty pervades Edo State as the recount of votes cast during the April 14 governorship election draws to a close.
The election tribunal before which Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate Adams Oshiomhole is challenging Governor Oserheimen Osunbor’s election, ordered that the votes cast in 12 local government areas be recounted because of the controversy over them.
The exercise, which began
on Saturday, is likely to be concluded either tomorrow or Thursday.
The votes are being recounted at the premises of the Benin High Court where the tribunal is sitting.
The affected local governments include five in Edo Central Senatorial District, two in Edo North (Owan West and Owan East) and three in Edo South (Orhiomwon, Uhouwode and Ikpoba).
Officials of the tribunal, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and agents of AC, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties are monitoring the exercise. The press is barred from witnessing it.
Sources said the exercise is a mixed bag of blessings for the PDP and AC.
Oshiomhole is, however, said to be sure of victory if the exercise went well.
Yesterday at the tribunal, an AC witness, Godfrey Emiokhe, explained why his deposition was excluded in the statement he made at the Ugbegun police station.
Emoke of 7, Equare in Ugbegun, Esan Central council area was an AC agent during the election.
He alleged that Mr. Tom Alunge of the PDP led a gang that scared away would-be voters.
The AC agent, while being cross-examined by PDP Counsel Mr. S.I.Osifo, said that although he reported the matter to the Ugbegun Police Station, it was not recorded; he therefore could not get a copy of it to be included in the case file.
The AC presented altogether three witnesses.
Another witness, Mrs. Elizabeth Omokhe, AC women leader who spoke through an interpreter, Mr. I.B.Ikhagbe, also from Eguare in Ugbegun, confirmed that there were gun shots on the election day to scare away people.
AC supervisor, Gilbert Eghalo testified that when INEC materials were diverted to the expressway, he reported to Irrua Police Station and the Area Commander and DPO followed him to the scene, but they said theirs (Police) is to maintain peace but not to monitor INEC materials and subsequently left.
Mr. Obanogie, AC counsel appealed to the tribunal for protection of his witnesses, stating that others who had testified before had their houses burnt or were threatened.
The chairman of the tribunal Justice B.C. Llye said we are here to do justice pleading with the Counsels to warn their clients to maintain peace and order. He counseled that before any threat should be reported to the Police, first all the counsels should make efforts to treat it amongst themselves instead of washing their dirty linen in public as Edo State is the HeartBeat of the nation.
– The Nationa